Lower back pain is a common condition that causes discomfort, affecting most people at some point in their lives. While this pain can be a simple nuisance, the lack of proper treatment and medical attention can lead to expensive hospital treatments and even permanent disabilities. Back pains are also one of the leading causes of patients seeking orthopedic surgeons in Litchfield County, CT.
This article will show you the most common causes of lower back pain and other relevant information you need to know.
Why Is It Such a Common Problem?
Most people don’t know that your back’s bottom part has fewer vertebrae than your neck and mid-back. The five vertebrae on your lower back may be few, but they do a lot of heavy lifting. It connects the spine to your pelvis, but it also carries the weight of your upper body. It’s no surprise that this area of your body can experience a lot of stress since it moves a lot. If not correctly taken care of, this area may lead to wear and tear and, worse, injuries.
Common Causes of Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is common, and it can arise for many reasons.
Arthritis of the Spine
Have you noticed that older people tend to get back pain more often than younger people? That’s because spinal joints degenerate the older we get. Our bodies tend to deteriorate as we age, and the cartilage between our spinal joints begins to degrade. On top of that, the surrounding tissues around the cartilages will also experience inflammation. Both the inflammation and thinning of the cartilages will increase the friction experienced by the joints, which ultimately results in lower back pain.
Aside from age, arthritis of the spine can also come from excessive weight or obesity.
It’s important to understand that anyone can be at risk of back injuries at any time. Since the lumbar muscles support the weight of your upper body, they will need to move, twist, and bend to perform everyday activities. If done incorrectly, these actions may lead to muscle strains, sprains, and severe back pains, making day-to-day activities harder to accomplish.
Whether you like it or not, your lifestyle dramatically influences your body’s health, particularly your lower back. For example, cigarette smokers experience back pain more since it decreases the production of vitamin C and D, which are essential for lumbar health. Smoking also changes blood flow, which contributes significantly to the onset of degenerative lumbar disorders.
A sedentary lifestyle can also cause lower back pain. People like office workers who sit for long periods of time are the most common individuals who experience lumbar issues. This dilemma is also why ergonomic office chairs are starting to get more popular.
Aside from smoking and a sedentary lifestyle, people with high BMI are also at risk for lower back pain. Every excess weight a person accumulates will put more strain on their musculoskeletal system, which may lead to pain and soreness and their back.
Orthopedic surgeons in Litchfield County, CT, often encounter patients who experience lower back pain during the colder weather. This is because the changes in the pressure and the temperature outside significantly affect your joints and spine.
Additionally, muscles also react to environmental conditions. They tend to lose more heat and contract during the cold weather, leading to tightness in the lower back and the whole body. Be careful when your muscles are stiff, as you are more at risk of lower back injuries.
In layman’s terms, a herniated disc is a disc that is out of its lining. Commonly known as a bulging or ruptured disc, herniated discs are among the most common causes of lower back pain. And while it can be unpleasant for some, most people who have gone through it have felt a world of difference after just a few weeks or months of treatment.
Herniated discs often arise from disc degeneration, a term used to describe aging-related wear and tear of the spinal discs. The different risk factors for herniated discs include excessive weight, genetics, and a sedentary lifestyle, to name a few.
Relation to Kidney Pain
Your kidneys are located on your lower back, so it only makes sense to assume that kidney pains and lower back pains are related. However, it’s not always the case. This dilemma can be tricky, and the only effective way to figure out the answer is to consult your doctor.
Lower back pain isn’t only exclusive to your lumbar spine – it can also shoot up or down your body. If your pain goes to your legs, you’re likely experiencing sciatica, a type of nerve pain that stems from an injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve. 90% to 95% of sciatica cases can be resolved through non-surgical treatments, but if it persists, then you may need to undergo surgery.
Other Multiple Reasons
Some of the risk factors for lower back pain include the following:
- Psoriatic Arthritis
Lower Back Pain Shooting Into Your Legs: What Does It Mean?
If you’re experiencing lower back pain that shoots into your legs, you may be experiencing sciatica pain. If you have sciatica, the pain from your lower back radiates to other parts of your body, usually on or both of your legs. It is prevalent, is generally self-diagnosable, and can be easily treated by a medical professional.
Can Lower Back Pain Signal Other Serious Health Problems?
Lower back pain can, unfortunately, signal more serious underlying health issues. For instance, there are cases where lower back pain can indicate cancer. This is especially true for metastatic cancer, where the cancer cells have spread to the different parts of the body.
Aside from cancer, there are also instances where a person can experience if they have health conditions like diabetes, gout, psoriatic arthritis, or tuberculosis, to name a few. These health conditions are severe, and it’s best for you to consider getting an expert medical opinion before you assume the worst.
How Can I Alleviate Lower Back Pain at Home?
You can treat your lower back discomfort at home if a severe medical issue doesn’t cause it.
Dealing with back pain through daily exercise is an excellent treatment for lower back pain. Exercise helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your spine, supporting it and minimizing pain. You can do a variety of workout routines like yoga and pilates to reduce your pain, and it’s vital to choose ones that are comfortable for you.
Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor may recommend medication to ease your lower back pain. Luckily, you can manage your lower back pain with various over-the-counter and prescription medications. Ibuprofen and naproxen, both available over-the-counter, can assist in relieving pain and inflammation.
Both hot and cold compresses can effectively relieve you of your lower back pain. Cold therapy works best for reducing pain and inflammation. Heat therapy can help your lower back’s blood flow, and it can even help you relax. Try to limit applications of either of the two compresses to between 15 to 20 minutes to protect your skin.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Lower back pain frequently goes away without treatment. However, if it persists or the pain worsens as the day progresses, you should start seeking a doctor. Below are some essential medical guidelines to help you decide when you should seek the help of a professional:
- The pain persists for a month or longer
- The pain keeps on getting worse
- The pain comes with other symptoms such as fever, weight changes, and loss of other bodily functions.
Lower back pain is a common discomfort experienced by people of various ages. This condition may be caused by different factors such as lifestyle, injuries, or weather conditions – which are easily solved through medications or by taking several precautions. Lower back pain can also signal more severe like herniated discs, sciatica, or cancer.
If your back pain doesn’t have profound health implications, you can deal with it through exercise and medications. However, if it involves serious illnesses, you would need a doctor’s assistance.
If you want to deal with your lower back pain the right way, then it’s best to consult a reliable orthopedic surgeon in Litchfield County, CT. They can help you diagnose your back health and identify ways to avoid such pain in the future.